Local church plans Christmas Eve cantata

Christmas Eve in Wauseon has never been a ‘silent night.’ That’s because an annual tradition, called a cantata, first begun in 17th Century Italy and adopted by a local church over 100 years ago, brings together an ensemble of voices, music, ringing bells, song, and a short narrative for a truly memorable celebration.

What makes this year’s cantata at Christ United Methodist Church different from past performance is its multi-media aspect – including a stunning visual presentation with two part arrangements performed by a choir representing several area churches.

The 11 p.m. cantata has always been a non-denominational event which concludes with an often-emotional candlelit ceremony when the audience circles inside the church sanctuary to celebrate the birth of the Messiah by singing “Silent Night.” The event concludes at midnight with the tolling of the church’s massive 1,500-pound bell.

This year’s cantata, Light of Bethlehem, is at Christ United Methodist Church, 215 N. Fulton St. (located across from the Upper Crust Bakery and Restaurant). There is plenty of parking in front of the church and the city lot adjacent to the municipal building.

For those who can’t make it to the 11 p.m. cantata, the church also offers an earlier service at 7 p.m.